All good things must come to an end, and this year’s Cool Tools session is no exception. Or is it? While there will be no new tools to explore, the lessons will, for the most part, continue to inspire and the manifest themselves in all sorts of ways as we integrate the new skills/tools into our lives.
I say “for the most part” because I never did manage to latch on to any of the productivity tools. Until they invent a filter that will lock down my computer (and phone!) until I prove that I accomplished certain tasks, I am at the mercy of my own easily distracted mind. (Oh look, my plants are wilty, I better go water them. Ugh! Where did those dandelions come from? Oh, Bella, do you need to go out? Let’s go for a walk. Huh. I left the laptop open. Well, I need to make dinner.) And so on and so forth until it’s the end of May and I wake up one morning and remember that I never finished my reflection piece. Or, it’s the end of May and I discover that the June issue of the school newsletter has no article from the library, because the “Task list” that sits on the lower right corner of my email is too easy to ignore. I am ashamed to say that the newsletter thing happened earlier this year, too. Maybe I should start working on that filter I mentioned earlier.
I always learn so much from these classes.
(Literally just now I clicked over to my photos to see if I could find a picture of a squirrel to include as joke about my distractibility. At least I caught myself before I went too far astray.)
Anyway. This year, more than ever before, I had many opportunities to share what I was learning with colleagues. I took 3 graduate courses toward my CAS and used several of the tools in my work. The biggest, most disappointing revelation was how uninterested my classmates were in learning more about these tools for their own classrooms or professional lives. They were impressed with the things we could do with them, but never wanted to know how they worked. Plickers was the most stunning example for me. I mean, how could you NOT want to jump on board with a tool that provides immediate feedback yet only requires a single device? Especially after seeing it in action? The very people who were just blown away by this technology had no interest in using it with their own students. I just don’t get it. The only tools anyone latched on to were the infographics, and that was primarily for course work.
The big thing that everyone was talking about was Glogster. Glogster. I was using Glogster a few years ago. Our district paid for accounts for teachers for a couple of years. They stopped because no one was using it. There’s nothing wrong with Glogster. It’s a good tool. But it’s not new. And that’s okay. It’s fine to stick with tried and true tools. But, for too many of my classmates Glogster was a revelation. (Including teachers from my own district, which made me utterly insane, but that’s a different story.)
I would never have thought of myself as an early adapter, but apparently that shoe fits. I think of myself as cautious, safe, and slow, while early adapters are brave trailblazers. I’m wondering if, in five years, a colleague will come to me all excited about this cool new thing called Plickers.
All of this is causing me to question myself. Is there something I’m doing wrong when I share new tools and ideas with teachers and colleagues? I love learning new things. Am I too pushy? Am I failing somehow to explain the potential? (Take the whole Glogster thing for instance. No one from my district should have been hearing about Glogster for the first time this year.) Or are my expectations too high? I’m interested in getting my CAS because I’d like to have the option of working as a technology integration specialist through BOCES, but maybe I don’t have the right skill set to get people excited about new things.
I guess that’s my big question at the end of this. How are you, my fellow Cool Toolers, sharing these tool with your colleagues? And how are they receiving them?